So how’s that April 17th working out for you, Mark Millar? You’ll recall that the excitable Scottish scribe was waiting for the day AFTER the KICK-ASS opening for his agents to take out his next project, NEMESIS, a move he may regret considering the tepid opening for KICK-ASS, which only managed a sub-$20 million opening AFTER Lionsgate toted up every penny — thus avoiding being #2 to a four-week-old cartoon about getting your dragon to use a potty chair. Millar seems to have made peace with the opening however, probably because his agents didn’t listen to his advice and already sold the hell out of his next few books.
Although there’s no disputing that KICK-ASS will recoup on home DVD and got a very smart, savvy marketing push to the target audience, it’s still being looked at as a case study of internet buzz not equaling actual movie goer buzz. Some are using it as a platform for wider mythbusting:
* [myth] The mainstream is tired of the straight superhero story and wants something that subverts the form.
No matter how some try to categorize it, “Kick-Ass” isn’t really a movie about superheroes. The character has as many powers as a house rabbit. The person who saves everyone is an 11-year-old in a purple wig. The characters in the film are, for one of the first times in movie history, just as slyly knowing of the tropes and conventions of superhero films as those watching it. “Kick-Ass” isn’t so much a superhero movie as it is a post-superhero movie.
Writer Steve Marmel. loved the movie but summed up the dilemma at HuffPo:
Men – and lets be honest, that’s the primary viewing audience for this flick (yes, there were women there as well, but they fall under the die-hard category) – were put in the position to either get a pass, or have to explain to their kids why they were off to see a movie about a costumed crime-fighter, but their kids could not. “Daddy, can I see Kick-ass?” Who needs that?
KICK-ASS’s mild box-office may have staved off a wider sense of outrage over its excesses: Ebert called it “morally reprehensible” and the New Yorker’s Anthony Lane called it “violence’s answer to kiddie porn.” But the controversy doesn’t seem to have fanned too many fires.
If nothing else, the lukewarm response to KICK-ASS following the lukewarm response to WATCHMEN has put the kibosh on the R-rated superhero movie for now. Meanwhile, some other comic book movies are also running into rough waters as IESB reports in a piece called Bad News For GREEN HORNET & LOBO. The LOBO movie — which would probably be R-rated or else why not call it ALF: THE MOVIE — and has fallen prey to the long-rumored Akiva Goldsman curse:
The real issue at hand is several of the top WB executives (the ones who matter) have lost faith in Akiva Goldman’s [sic] producorial skills. This is a direct result of their not-so-hot reaction to The Losers and especially Jonah Hex. The latter required massive reshoots (in excess of 50 pages worth of new material) and another director in studio go-to guy Francis Lawrence was brought to call the shots. So basically Lobo won’t be happening anytime soon.
Even more alarm bells have been raised over the GREEN HORNET movie, which stars Seth Rogen as a superhero and was directed by
eccentric French visionary Michel Gondry — yeah, no one could have predicted those two would make a goofy comedy and not a crisp actioner. The IESB story alludes to much studio angst over HORNET’s campy tone, and sure enough, yesterday GREEN HORNET was moved from its “We believe in you!” December 22 holiday opening spot to the cold, wintry exile of Martin Luther King Day, January 14th. The reason given was to add 3D effects — because with eight months before opening you DESPERATELY need those three extra weeks to run some scenes through a computer and avoid your lucrative opening date, right, Sony Pictures Vice-Chairman Jeff Blake?
“We’re investing more in the film to have it 3-D,” said Blake. “We’ve seen part of the movie. We love it. We believe in it. Whoever is spreading these rumors has not seen it. We’re going to finish ‘Green Hornet’ in 3-D and take 9 months to do it right.”
Translation: Ohmigod we saw some footage and I have been lying on my Sleep Number mattress, sleepless and afraid, ever since, wondering how we are going to sell this turkey.
Meanwhile, THE LOSERS, based on the Andy Diggle-Jock Vertigo comic of the same name, opens this weekend, its biggest competition Jennifer Lopez’s baby/romance comedy The Back-Up Plan– a look at the poster hints at which body part Lopez might be “backing up” to enact this plan.
Will men prevail and get to pick the mildly entertaining LOSERS, maintaining the general tendency of comic book movies to open at #1? Or will women go for J-Lo’s over-effective ovaries? Tune in Sunday for the answer.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.